Insert witty Facebook phone pun here

There’s apparently a race going on to see what group is going to produce the first VoIP application for Facebook. (It’s surprising one hasn’t gained popularity already.) Apparently a bunch of companies have either just launched ones or are working on them: WalkieTalkie/Tag, Jangl. Others are in development.

One of the recent additions to this list is being developed by Montreal-based BabyTel. Called simply Telephone, it works as a downloadable Java application that uses Facebook as a calling directory.

I was recently asked to visit their offices and give my thoughts on their new application. The back-end was OK (it was based on pre-existing VoIP software), but the front-end could be generously described as pre-alpha. I gave my two cents on the Facebook application page as well as the application itself, both of which seemed to have improved from my input.

Now it looks like they’re taking it to beta, producing a “viral video” with Bitchin Kitchen‘s Nadia G. (I wouldn’t really call it “viral” since there’s nothing but a bit of excess enthusiasm that would cause people to want to share it.)

I’m not one for VoIP in the first place, so it really doesn’t matter what I think, but from a user interface standpoint, my biggest issue with the software was that it’s a downloadable program instead of a web app. They’ve tried to make it as painless as possible, but I still have this .jnlp file on my desktop. Getting people to accept the “do you want to download this executable file” dialog is a pretty big step.

Whether or not it’ll be a dealbreaker for users remains to be seen.

3 thoughts on “Insert witty Facebook phone pun here

  1. Denis Canuel

    I’m more curious to see when the first Facebook worm will appear :) But seriously, I think it’s obvious that FB will become the de-facto standard and that a plethora of applications will follow. User recommendation and “peer pressure” (in a good/marketing way) is bound to succeed if well implemented. FB openly asked for ideas recently so I bet they have a large bag of things to implement now…

  2. Tim

    Hey Steve, thanks for the props to Jangl. We’ve actually had our Phonebook app up for a few months now, and many tens of thousands are using it. To your point, it’s a web app — there’s no download needed for any Jangl service (also please check out the service available right on our home page at

    Try the Phonebook app in Facebook and let me know what you think. Basically, you’ll get a number (local to you) for any/all of your FB friends. Leave them voicemails, talk to them, etc. — no need to leave FB to do it, either.

    If you want to, hit me up at tim at jangl dot com.

    Thanks again Steve.


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